Wedding anniversaries are times of celebration of shared commitments, treasured memories, and common experiences.
But what if disease has erased the shared memories and eliminated once-treasured experiences? How does one celebrate something that is no longer remembered?
Sunday, June 30, will mark the 58th anniversary of our wedding. How do Linda and I celebrate when she has forgotten the multiple threads binding our lives together for six decades?
The celebrating will be done primarily by me. I now hold the commitments and memories. I will rejoice and give thanks on her behalf since she cannot cognitively comprehend the significance of the day.
I will remember, rejoice, and give thanks for both of us. I will celebrate her love expressed in
- countless tender acts of intimacy, support, kindness, and helpfulness;
- birthing and nurturing our two loving and devoted daughters;
- generous and gracious hospitality extended to all;
- encouraging me when I failed and correcting me when I erred;
- loving me in sickness and in health, in joyful times and in times of grief.
So, I celebrate and give thanks for all Linda has done as acts of love. Now that she can no longer do, I rejoice and give thanks for simply who she is. I celebrate her very being!
Yes, she has changed! So have I! I love her for who she has been, who she is, and who she will become.
Disease has not changed her being, only her doing. Even if she no longer remembers me, I remember her!
Now Linda’s love is in the form of receiving my care, affection, and devotion. Love, after all, is like a dance. Sometimes one leads; at other times, one follows.
Whether leading or following, giving or receiving, we are participating in the Triune God’s eternal dance of love. In so doing, love grows richer, deeper, wider, and purer!
Thank you, Linda, for the privilege of sharing with you in the dance of love for all these years. And, the dance goes within the rhythm of God’s boundless Love.